Nature Trail Tour - March, 2009
Take a virtual tour of the Sibley Nature Tour!
[Additional Tours: February, 2006 | April, 2006 | May, 2006 | July, 2006 | August, 2006 | October, 2006 | January, 2007 | February, 2007 | April, 2007 | May, 2007 | June, 2007 | July, 2007 | August, 2007 | September, 2007 | October, 2007 | January, 2008 | December, 2007 | March, 2008 | July, 2008 | September, 2008 | November, 2008 | January, 2009 | February, 2009]
Nancy Kirk is a member of the 2009 class of the Llano Estacado chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists. She volunteered to take the photographs for the March virtual trail. She found a number of wildflowers in bloom, and some other things that other photographers had not found on the trail. The more a person walks the trail, the more they see, and there is always something new to see.
Nancy Kirk's mother Ann Matthews walked with her on the trail, and found a number of the subjects of the photographs.
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The algerita planted near the building and on the trail was in full bloom in late March. The sweet smell permeated the air, and a few bees were buzzing among the blossoms.
Alley mustard was about finishing its bloom periods, but in areas of dappled shade it was not close to being done. The extra moisture and mulch keeps it going longer.
Baby white asters were blooming, too. They always grow in the shade of mesquites, and are rhizomatous, so they form mats.
Beeflies were looking for early bees. They will lay their eggs in the native bees holes, and their larvae will eat the larval bees.
Very few bladderpods were in bloom, for it had been to dry of a winter for the carpets of the "tela de oro" (blankets of gold) to form.
The perennial broomweed was greening up, but it blooms in the fall.
Cattail seedheads had not dispersed all of their seeds as the coyote willows leafed out.
Backlit cattails are quite showy.
Comanche prickly pear has white thorns and will have red blooms.
The coots were still busy in the pond…will they nest there this year?
Coralberry still had berries after it had completely leafed out.
A cottonrat dug under a mesquite, and huisache daisies had begun to bloom.
A cottontail rabbit hid in old dead tumbleweeds.
Old coyote scat had come unraveled, revealing the hair inside. We never see the coyote itself…
Last year's bristlegrass leaves had become quite curly with the wear and tear of winter.
Desert holly leaves always catch people's eyes!
The desert willow trees were just beginning to put out leaves.
Some neighborhood kids had destroyed part of the golf course fence, and laid its timbers on the dock. They later came back and dislodged the dock.
The male dove in front flicked its wing at its potential mate.
And then… they walked together.
The spring perennial germander had grown all of its leaves, but had not started blooming yet.
Ground squirrels had opened up their holes, after hibernating all winter. They are our only mammal that hibernates.
Harvester ants had opened up a hole to their nest in the parking lot asphalt.
Huisache daisies were the most common wildflowers.
Their green leaves were in stark contrast to the still yellow leaves of the grass.
A few of the huisache daisies had grown to a respectable size
But most of them were small and stunted from the drought.
Jackrabbit scat was larger than the rosettes of "nama" which might not grow enough to flower unless rains come.
Lark buntings had not left for their mating territories in Colorado and farther north.
Little barley is an annual winter grass.
The live oaks were covered with their bloom catkins.
The blue lote and yucca grew among the endemic cory ephedra (which only grows in West Texas.)
Lote can have a very dense structure. Under the plants are often the dust baths of quail and other birds.
Lote grows straggly when it is between two mesquites.
Some of the lote was beginning to leaf out.
Look close to see the snail shell among the rosettes next to the old mesquite root crown exposed by wind and water erosion.
Some of the mesquite was just leafing out, about two weeks earlier than normal, because of the abnormally warm early weeks of March.
Some had completed leafing out. This year, a late freeze did not come and nip the early growth.
Mosquito fish swam above some of the submerged part of the dock where the kids had done their vandalism.
The mulberries planted at the pond were blooming.
And the Siberian elms had completed their leafing out.
The giant sacaton grass had begun to green up and grow after volunteers Larry Hall and Frank Gray had cut it back.
The Russian olives were completely leafed out.
Some of the seepwillows were completely leafed out, too.
A painted lady butterfly found one of the huisache daisies.
Peppergrass was blooming among the new shoots of the blueweed daisies.
Pink evening primrose had begun to bloom.
Puccoon blooms in March. The ones in the shade were smaller than
The ones in the open sunlight.
A pygmy blue butterfly hung out on a mesquite twig, digesting a meal of huisache daisy nectar.
The redbuds were in full bloom at the building.
In the hill country of Texas, spring has sprung when the redbuds bloom before the mesquites leaf out.
A red eared slider shell was found in the shadows of the trees.
Another part of the shell had already become bleached by the sun.
In the shadows of a mesquite, a rodent had dug between the rosettes of wildflowers.
A russian olive stump has weathered gracefully. How old was it when it died of a bacterial disease?
Other seepwillows had not leafed out completely.
Some tasajillo berries were still firm and juicy, waiting for a mockingbird or a curved bill thrasher to gobble them down.
Verbena pumila grew in the tight clay soil near the pond.
The verdin had built his winter nest not far from the trail.
The coyote willow leaves danced in the strong spring breeze.
The wolfberry was leafing out, despite no winter moisture. In drier springs, it will not leaf out until it rains.
A yucca had all of its leaves nipped off by a packrat adorning his nest.
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